Friday, November 02, 2007

Good school impressions

It's big fun to go to a school where the students, teachers and staff all seem to be having a good time. That's what it was like this past week at Jefferson Elementary in Iola. I spent Monday through Thursday there, doing 13 performances in the classrooms, thanks to the Bowlus Fine Arts Center.

Here were some initial signs that this would be a nice school in which to perform:
  • The floors at the entrance were freshly waxed and clean.
  • The secretary (actually a sub) was friendly.
  • The principal was standing in the hall with a dog on a leash. Vegas is a gentle, placid service dog who was on loan for a couple of days. The principal took him everywhere he went.
  • The principal was extremely welcoming to me and clearly liked the kids. He spent time in the lunchroom and the classrooms as well as working in his office. I can't tell you the number of times I go to schools and never see the principal.
  • The walls were covered in interesting bulletin boards and kids' artwork. Every classroom showed great creativity.
  • The staff lounge was pleasant and well-used.

Those were just first impressions. What really mattered was that the kids and teachers were expecting to have a positive experience, and so they did. The teachers welcomed me not just in the classrooms but in the staff lounge as well.

Oh, and here's another good sign: Halloween was celebrated at this school, including an all-school assembly where the principal emceed the kids' costume parade and some of the teachers did a cheer. Give me an R! Give me an E! Give me an A! Give me a D! What does it spell? READ!!! After the assembly, the kids took off their costumes and got back to schoolwork.

May every school experience be this positive.

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